Bees vs. Wasps: Who's the Bigger Threat?

Bees and wasps are some of the most common insects that people want to get rid of, and for a good reason. 

These stinging pests share a lot of traits in common, but bees and wasps are more different than you may realize. 

In today’s post, we will go over 2 key differences and 1 important similarity between bees and wasps, and which one of them is more dangerous to you and your family. 

Watch the fascinating video version of this post by clicking HERE! 

You can also download the audio-only podcast by clicking the download button above. 

Difference #1 - The Food Chain 

Bees feed on sugars, which is why they hover around your food or drink during a picnic. This is because they are adapted to detect sweet substances like nectar. 

Bees gather nectar as a food source. They use nectar to make honey so they can store food for the winter, when flowers aren’t as abundant. 

Flowers produce nectar to attract pollinators like bees, who gather from flower to flower, dropping off excess pollen, which allows the flowers to reproduce. 

Wasps, however, have a very different role in their ecosystem. 

Wasps will sometimes feed on nectar, but they’re mainly carnivorous - They prefer to feed on other insects. 

As natural predators, wasps are more adapted to attack than bees. 

For the same reason, bees are unlikely to sting you unless they feel greatly threatened. 

Difference #2 - Stinger Defense

As most people know, bees can only sting you once before they die. This is because after a bee stings its victim, its stinger is pulled loose, tearing its abdomen in half. 

But did you know that wasps can sting you as many times as they want, and fly away completely unharmed? 

Wasp stingers are much more resilient than bee stingers for a few simple reasons. 

Bee stingers evolved for defense against other bees and hostile insects. 

Bees can survive stinging other bugs, but when they attack a mammal, their barbed stinger is torn out of their body, taking a part of their digestive tract with it. 

A wasp’s stinger, on the other hand, is more needle-shaped, so they can sting us and pull back without tearing it out! 

Additionally, wasps can actually retract their stingers, similar to how cats can retract their claws. 

Wasps are better adapted to attack due to their predatory instincts and role in their ecosystem. As such, they are individually more dangerous than bees. 

Key Similarity: Alarm Pheromones

Despite their different roles, bees and wasps share one notable similarity that makes them extremely dangerous. 

Bees and wasps are both very social creatures. When a member of the colony stings an intruder and/or, the dead bee or wasp will release what’s called an “alarm pheromone.” 

This is a chemical that alerts everyone else to an attack, causing them to become more defensive and aggressive. 

Unless you’re allergic to bee stings, a single sting won’t seem like a massive threat… But as soon as that bee dies, a swarm won’t be far behind. 

Imagine this scenario with wasps in place of bees... You wouldn’t want to be caught up in a swarm of angry wasps stinging you multiple times each! 

Even if you don’t normally have an allergic reaction to bees or wasps, getting attacked by a swarm can trigger an allergy-like reaction or even a fatal immune response. 

Click here for more of our tips on how to deal with a bee or wasp infestation.

Got a Pest Problem? 

If you think your home is at risk of an infestation by bees, wasps, or any other hostile pest, call for professional help. Trying to resolve it yourself may put you in harm’s way.

Don’t put your family or home at risk of an infestation. 

Please contact us at 855-WILDLIFE or visit www.wildlifexteam.com for more information. 

Thanks for reading! 
-Wildlife x Team International 

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